Vatican Ambassador to India and Nepal Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio arrived here on Monday to inaugurate the Catholic Mission Congress (Prabhu Yeshu Mahotsavam), which will run from May 8 to 10 and see more than 4,000 delegates participating from all over Andhra Pradesh.
Father Penachhio spoke to the multitudes, which turned up to be a part of the occasion at a Holy Mass at the St. Paul's Cathedral in Patamata. A vibrant cultural programme cutting across religious lines saw performers present ‘Bharatanatyam', a Hindu-origin dance much to the joy of the Vatican representative.
Earlier, Father Pennacchio was received by Father U. Bala Showry at the Ganavaram Airport at around 5 p.m. A dinner was hosted in his honour by Vijayawada Bishop Father Prakash. As part of his maiden visit to Vijayawada, Father Pennacchio will officiate at Holy Mass on the first day, preside over deliberations and group discussions on the Catholic Church's services to the society.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to host the delegates at Christian institutions in the city in what has been described by Bishop Prakash as the biggest Mission Congress in over 300 years.